DESIGN AND 3D PRINTING OF CUSTOM-FIT PRODUCTS WITH FREE ONLINE SOFTWARE AND LOW COST TECHNOLOGIES. A STUDY OF VIABILITY FOR PRODUCT DESIGN STUDENT PROJECTS

C. Rodrigo Corbaton, M. Fernández-Vicente, A. Conejero

Universitat Poliècnica de València (SPAIN)
In the past few years, AM technologies has started to be used as Rapid Manufacturing (RM) – the production of end-use parts from Additive Manufacturing systems to produce end-use parts. The principal advantage of the Additive Manufacturing processes is the ability to manufacture custom parts directly of complex geometry entirely without the need for tooling, being this application one of the most given use.

More recently the combination of innovative and emerging free design software and low-cost 3D printing bureau services compared with traditional methods, has the potential to emerge as a new bespoke industrial design methodology that could be considered for product design degree projects.

This study analyses the viability of an efficient modeling approach using a combination of free softwares like Autodesk 123D Catch and Grasshopper, a Rhinoceros plugin, and low-cost 3D printing processes for customization design and manufacturing of a product: sunglasses. The goal of this study is to try to figure out if it is possible for product design students to generate a workflow by using this online free tools and low-cost technologies to obtain a unique product to fit in an end-user’ anthropometric requirements. Face geometry features were captures using free photogrammetry software. An automated modeling procedure was developed and applied to model a concept of sunglasses that fits to the user face. The resulting virtual sun glasses was manufactured with two AM printers, a previous prototype low-cost printed in ABS and a final functional version was manufactured by an online 3D printing service in Nylon with SLS technology, sanded and painted with the lens assembled. An initial economic study indicated that the presented approach offers a feasible alternative to the current practices and proves the possibility for product design students for custom-fit design with an affordable low-cost process.